As a freelance illustrator I work on a variety of projects, but my specialty is character design. I periodically get calls from ad agencies, design firms, and business owners wishing to hire me to design a mascot to help promote their product or service.
Mascots are powerful, which is why so many companies use them (like the well-known brands pictured above). Having a character or mascot to represent you in front of the public can have several advantages:
1. Mascots get attention – People are constantly bombarded with messages so you need to go the extra mile to stand out. Mascots get noticed. When people see a mascot they are more likely to stop and listen to what he/she/it has to say.
2. Increased brand awareness. A good mascot is memorable. If an appealing character can work its way into the public consciousness it will become an instantly recognizable symbol for a product. When you look at the Geico gecko you immediately think of Geico. You see the Pillsbury dough boy and think of gooey chocolate chip cookies. The company logo is barely an afterthought. The mascot says it all.
3. A friendly image. Mascots are fun! They are entertaining to watch and send a positive message. A likable character can instantly create a positive connection with your potential customers. It’s much harder to do that with only a logo.
4. Mass appeal. A good mascot can appeal to a wide demographic, across many age groups and backgrounds. Mascots appeal to children as well as adults, extending your brand message to a wider audience. A mascot can even transcend languages and cultures.
6. Lucrative licensing opportunities. If a mascot becomes popular it opens the door for all sorts of profitable merchandise (clothing, toys, etc.) that can make you money while at the same time raising awareness of your product. Mars Inc., the makers of M&M’s, recently opened an entire M&M’s retail store in New York City, thanks in large part to the popularity of their cartoon mascots.
If you think a cartoon mascot might be the right choice for you or for a client, visit the character design gallery on my website where you can view samples of various characters and mascots I’ve designed. You can also contact me about a free consultation, or download a free questionnaire. It’s designed to help you think through your brand message and also to give me a clear idea of what your needs are so that I know the best way to help you.